August 2 – September 10, 2018

Boy, is this an overdue post! As I write this, it’s overcast and in the low 60s. But this post is going to take us back to sunny and 90s – which is why Mina is sitting in the park dealing with a rock in her shoe.

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Mina still loves swinging. The moment she enters a park, she scans, then takes off running. If we’re willing, she’ll spend the entire time swinging, yelling, “Faster!”

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Then she heads back home to make more jewelry.

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Speaking of accessories, the kids have discovered the umbrella. Mina roamed the house with it for an entire afternoon before we hid it away.

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This will really highlight the lateness of this post: you’re about to see Linus’s birthday party – a full six weeks after his birthday.

He invited his friend Ilse, of course.

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And Ethan.

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And Ruby and Ida. I concocted a little surprise reunion by inviting both the Sweeneys and the Koelz.

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Here’s the birthday boy! I don’t think he ate any of the actual cake because he was too excited about the mousse filling/frosting.

By the way, when he learned it was a party day, he picked out that outfit. We had a long fight over whether it required underwear. I (and good sense) prevailed. That turned out to be a wise move when he spent the party wiping his nose with his shirt tail.

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And there’s Cesare! He likes cake too.

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Mina and Yen have a little song they sing together before bed. I’ve asked him to get a recording if possible. Not sure why they were singing in the garage here, but I guess when inspiration strikes…

We’ve been exploring a number of different bike trails in the area. On this one, Mina jumped off the bike and began assembling a bouquet of oak leaves.

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It was so hot in early August. One Sunday morning we met up with Tan, Susie, and company at Beaver Brook, a recently renovated sprinkler park in Belmont. Mina did a lot of people watching.

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Right next to the sprinkler section is a huge play area. Linus climbed all over it like a little monkey.

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Here’s Mina all decked out: necklace, bracelet, tattoos, and ponies.

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The kids took a little time off from their busy schedules to pop some bubble wrap.

Hiking, of course! Linus and I kept wondering what was taking Mina and Yen so long. The posing, it turns out.

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Handsome Nana. How is he four years old already? Sometimes we ask to see Baby Nana. He complies by stopping what he’s doing and looking up toward the ceiling. For some reason, he looks exactly like his baby self when he does that. Not here, though. Here he looks like a wise little boy.

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Mina loves Ba Noi so much! All weekend long she and Linus ask to go visit her. We keep telling them, “Ba Noi needs to rest!”

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Here they are singing the moon song together.

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Ilse’s birthday is a week after Linus’s, so we got to go to another birthday party! Hers was at the Discovery Museum in Acton, a real favorite of ours (and everyone else – if you don’t get there right when it opens, you can’t get parking until the lunchtime lull). The kids spent most of the time upstairs in the “assemble your own car” area.

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Mina also loves this table. It’s a big flat stone that you can spin while piling very fine sand on top. There are brushes and other tools for making little patterns as it spins.

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Mina is a real pro with puzzles – and the alphabet!

This was a random little photo. I came into the living room and saw Yen sitting in the evening light. He’s so handsome! I give him a lot of grief for never coming around to the other side of the camera. So I snatched it off the kitchen table and made him sit still for just a moment.

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Meanwhile Mina was hiding under the couch.

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This little jacket! I bought it for her ages ago. It’s a funny size because it’s too short in the tummy but crazy long in the arms. I don’t think we can cram her into it anymore, but she indulged me just this once. Now I must find a home for it.

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I believe I’ve mentioned that Yen gave Linus an old camera to play with. Here he’s lounging around the house in partywear, snapping photos.

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We decided to have a banh xeo party (you can’t make a small amount of banh xeo, so when Yen has a craving, we always invite people over). Linus has quite a crush on Yen’s friend Tuyen, which is only stronger now that she brought fresh coconut for him.

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Mina is really into the show¬†Octonauts right now, and one character in particular. His name is Kwazii, and he’s a cat pirate. She goes around doing an impersonation of him like this. I believe for Halloween she’ll wear the traditional James cat costume with an eye patch.

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Linus, meanwhile, has been putting his underwear on his head. I don’t think he’ll wear that for Halloween.

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Just thought you’d enjoy seeing in the crazy mess that is our living room.

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Yen brought a camp chair up from the garage and Linus has been carrying it all around the house to sit in. I suspect camping is in our near future…

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Watermelons are the best fruit: delicious and doubles as a chair.

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Beautiful lady.

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And here’s her favorite hat!

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I found any empty hour at work one day and did a video chat with the kids – that’s what they’re watching here. They insisted that I continue the chat as I walked across campus so they could see where I went.

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And I got a kiss at the end!

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We heard about a little arboretum in Acton, so we decided to check it out.

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Linus was really into Altoids that weekend. He carried the tin everywhere and ate the entire thing in one afternoon. No apparent side effects except very fresh breath.

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Once again I tried to get a nice photo for Yen. Mina wasn’t into it.

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This one’s not bad.

Are you wondering about Linus’s forehead? He took a bad spill on his bike and that spot is where his head smacked against his helmet. That helmet really did its job and protected his little noggin. He had no ill effects except that bruise. And he got right back on it the next day.

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The Altoids went into my pocket for a while.

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I think Mina is a little more excited than Linus about making it to the top of this rock.

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Linus has been very crafty lately. He insisted that Yen buy a bird house kit and this box kit from Lowe’s.

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One of the last days warm enough for Walden Pond, maybe. The kids love that place.

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Look how far out Linus can go without making any of us worry.

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Canoeing! This time it was in Somerville.

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Now we’re getting into a random set of photos that Yen cleared from his phone before vacation – in case he lost it, he said. This was from a walk along the Charles.

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Trampoline day, which is a tradition on Thursdays with Co Ba.

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Jumping is a pretty serious hobby for Mina.

Wow, he’s sharing his ice cream?!

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Checking out a special exhibit at Museum of Science. I love the bare feet dangling in the “water.”

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Sprinkler park in North Billerica.

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And ready for spelunking!

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Pho for lunch, of course. Look at my little pro, Linus!

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Even cats get hungry.

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